Seeing the world through the lens and beyond – Deborah Owen, Photographer

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

A Final Farewell

2014 02 08_Butterflies_1256_edited-1

I really had not planned on writing tonight, but I’m home instead of being out celebrating and I didn’t know I would be as emotional about this whole New Year thing, but here I am at the computer typing my thoughts for the world to read.  So here goes….

This time last year on December 31, 2013 I was also alone, but I went out and enjoyed an evening at a local establishment (which sadly is no longer open), listened to a band who was losing their lead singer to cancer, it was to be his final performance, he passed a month later. When I first arrived at my table, I was a bit upset, they didn’t seat me with anyone……I was in a huge outdoor seating area, sitting alone at a table for four and I felt really awkward and thought maybe I shouldn’t be there.  You see I had just ended a four-year relationship and was determined that my life was going to be better alone than what I was enduring the last couple of years in that relationship.  As I sat at my table being served a wonderful surf & turf dinner by the best waitress ever, I kept thinking “2014 will be my year”.  It was quite chilly and I wasn’t really dressed for the coolness, but I endured to midnight, had a glass of champagne and toasted what was to come.  A young girl came over to me and gave me a huge hug and invited me to her table, I declined,  You see I was holding back tears, because I wanted her to know I was fine and really wasn’t staying much longer.  I finished my glass, and took the rest of the bottle to their larger table and wished them all a Happy New Year and left.  Driving home I was almost smiling at the thought that I got through the evening and I was going to be just fine.

Life simply got better, I was surrounded by friends who rallied around me and kept me encouraged in the midst of those sad few trying to discredit me and my work.  I threw myself into my photography and began to pick up more and more work.  I realized I was much more successful on my own and was regaining my self-confidence and finding my lost identity once again.  I have talent and my photography is good and even though the gossip mongers were trying to tear me down I was surpassing my own expectations!  I also picked up a new partner in my photography; my son Tommy who is incredible and he knows how to use his camera, he’s so amazingly talented and creative. We are my father’s prodigies, he would be proud of us.

Tommy allowed  me to photograph him and in return I succumbed to the front of his lens as well, not an easy task for a photographer.  It felt awkward and unnatural, but after a few minutes I began to enjoy the experience and really loved the images he produced of me.

Tommy-2 Tommy-25 Mother's Day shoot-5 Mother's Day shoot-16

As the year progressed I was able to add an incredible amount of images to my portfolio and actually had the privilege of photographing my all time favorite former Beatle Ringo Starr (bucket list).

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr

I have had a set back or two, but I never allowed them to get the best of me, because I know I’m right where I need to be.  God is in control of my life and what I am doing.  My faith is unwavering.  The end of the year has been trying with finding out a close friend was diagnosed with cancer, thankfully she is a fighter and it didn’t win, she did! I’ve added friends to my very small circle and I love each one of them.  I also just sent a text my to my son and his response brought on the emotions.  I have two incredible boys and my youngest is a lot like me in more ways than with a camera.

So here I am ending my year in a puddle of tears, yet I know 2015 is going to be even better than 2014.  I will find love again this year because I’m ready and I know God is preparing someone for me, and I will be one step closer to realizing my dream of being a full-time working photographer.  I am beginning the new year documenting the journey back to health of a woman in the fight for her life and hope to highlight her here in the very near future.  So to all of my followers, stay tuned, it’s only going to get better.  God Bless each of you, treat each moment as if it could be your last….Love, laugh, dance and sing…… 2015 is going to ROCK!  Happy New Year!

Shortness of Life

Christmas-3 (Medium)Christmas is a great time to love on your family and to enjoy each other and to laugh.  I know as I grow older, family and friends become so very important.  When you are a child, you think time passes so very slowly……you can’t wait for Christmas break.  As you get older those holiday breaks come even faster and disappear just as fast.  This holiday was spent with friends and family and it could not have been any better.   I used to love decorating and getting the house ready for the boys and the visit from Santa, but lately I have not felt that inspiration to decorate.  For several years I didn’t even want to celebrate.  The last couple of years have been truly amazing and I have had so much fun with my family.  I love watching the little ones open their gifts, I have missed that excitement.

After hearing some not so good news today, I once again realize how short life can be.  We never know when our last breath will be, and we need to take each day and make it the best we can.  Dance as if no one is watching, sing in the shower as if no one is listening, love like it will be your last, and be with those that make you happy.  Let your loved ones know how you feel otherwise you may never get the chance.  We are only given so many beats of our heart, use those beats with passion.  Don’t wait, because you think you may have the time; death is not considerate of age, it can come at any time.  So for this Christmas season, I spent it with the exact people I was supposed to spend it with and will continue to let those I care about know how I feel throughout this coming New Year.

2014 A Year in Review

 

Corkscrew-12

The year of change

Looking back through this year, I am simply humbled by what has transpired. The concerts and artists I have been fortunate enough to photograph has been incredible, I have worked with some of the best folks in the business from radio, television and beyond.  Venue management has been incredible to work with from locally in Fort Myers throughout the Tampa Bay area, just top-notch all the way.  I’ve had some incredible referrals from those I’ve worked with and photographed for which has opened up some amazing opportunities and I am so very grateful for them.  I’ve had my work featured on some major artist’s social media outlets which just astonishes me; it simply staggers my mind to know they are looking at my work.  And I have been able to meet a lot of new people in areas I would have never expected.

2014 was all about change and learning who I was as a photographer, going into the new year I wasn’t quite sure what direction I wanted to take with my photography, I knew I wanted to film events, but beyond that I still wasn’t sure. After engaging in a few different subject matters I know what and who I want to shoot.  The concerts, festivals and events are my number one choice for photography; I love the lights and bending my creativity to make the lighting work around the artists.  I have also found I enjoy weddings, especially the small destination weddings, but I really enjoy shooting them more than I thought I would initially, and I get to work with my favorite photographer, my son Tommy.  The other subject I enjoy immensely is shooting women over 40, I find that empowering and also joyful for myself and for them, especially when they see how beautiful they are.  Finally I will continue to relax by heading to the woods, ‘Glades or a local zoo and simply shoot what I want. This keeps me balanced and focused on what really matters.

This year also taught me all about those who have supported me and how incredible they are.  One of my very dear friends has fought the battle of her life, but will be starting out 2015 completely cancer free!  I love my friends, they understand me and have been there to cheer me on.   I have made a few new friends too, those who went from being acquaintances to full-fledged friends.  I can’t imagine life without them now.

Looking to the Future

With 2015 right around the corner I have to come up with my next steps in my five-year plan;  I need to sit down with pen and paper and write out what I would like to see for this next year that will fit within my goals.  I’m a planner and goal setter and for things to happen in my world I must have a plan.

2014 – This was the year for getting my feet wet as a photographer, deciding what I wanted to focus on and where I want to take this awesome business.

2015 – This will be the year of marketing myself more, hitting  major goals such as becoming an LLC and setting up a full business plan and scope of services and opening more doors for myself.  I know I’m good enough and I am constantly wanting to learn new techniques and learn from those more seasoned.

2016 – Begin the transition to becoming a full-time photographer

2017 – Open a fully operating gallery and studio

2018 – Retiring from full-time job and taking on photography full-time with my son Tommy

These are lofty goals and I know I will hit each one of them.  I don’t need to compete with anyone as my work speaks for itself and those who are in front of my lens are there for a reason.  I have been blessed with a talent, but more than that I have been blessed with the passion, to hold a camera, to view what is in my lens and to create greatness from that image.  A long time friend told me recently that my dad would be incredibly proud of me for where I have taken this love, and I understand now, what I did not understand then, my dad had a passion for capturing images and freezing time; it was his superpower.  This year I will make it mine.

Happy 2015 Everyone!

Poofing Dandelions

Corkscrew-7 A really good writer friend of mine recently posed a question on her organizations Facebook page for Women in Leadership: “Christ was never hurried. Even in the face of the death of a friend (Lazarus in John 11) he did not hurry. What would have to change in the lives of women today for them not to be hurried?” -Karen Zeigler I had to really think about that, because I am constantly hurrying from point A to point B at any given moment. I no longer have young children to pull me from place to place and since I am now single, I don’t have the obligations of home life that I once had, but still I am constantly juggling a schedule as an employee and also as a working photographer. My weekends are often taken up with events and photo shoots. As I was driving home, an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip popped in my mind. Calvin is laying in a field of dandelions with Hobbes and he asks Hobbes.. “Have you ever poofed a dandelion? You haven’t lived until you poof a dandelion.” I’ve not thought about little exchange in years, but it suddenly made total sense. We need to take the time to slow down and poof dandelions. Even the bible has a say in this. In Luke 10:38-42 we see Martha was busy preparing for Jesus and his disciples visit and her sister Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus not helping her but listening to what he had to say and Martha got upset and asked Jesus to basically make Mary get up and help. Jesus responded by telling Martha that Mary was doing what was required of her at that time. He was giving the woman permission to not be busy, but to take a few minutes to do what was important to them and to renew their minds and spirit. I’m not sure what that looks like for most people, but for me it’s getting away and renewing my inner creative self, even if it’s simply taking a walk in the park, the beach or even going away to the woods for the weekend. After an adventure I am renewed and refreshed and ready to get back to my hectic schedule. This is not always easy, I’m a spontaneous person and I like to pick up and go, but this past year I have had to pencil in this time in my schedule, I also stick to it, if something comes up I decline with an “I’m sorry I’m already scheduled somewhere else”. I must do this to keep up my energy and creativity. Give yourself permission to take time for yourself, even if it’s only for a half hour, sit on your porch in the early morning before the house wakes up and sip a good cup of coffee, take a walk in the park or get away for a weekend either alone or with friends. Slow down and look for a dandelion to poof.

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Life in Balance

A walk on the wild side

A walk on the wild side

I was talking with a friend yesterday as we strolled around the Taste of Lee and we were discussing ways to keep our energy levels up.  I work a full time job that currently pays the bills and I work about 30 hours a week on my photography, either with attending and shooting events or on the computer editing or handling my social media. He works really long hours some days and also understands the need to chill even though he too has an abundance of energy. I shared with him I take  really great supplements, however he also reminded me I take “time-outs” or down time to allow myself to rest and restore.  I thought about it, and it’s something I incorporate into my life, and it’s become so second nature I don’t think about it.  He explained when he’s mentioned about needing to rest he’s been criticized for acting “old”, but I discern this differently; this man has learned to balance his life and understands it’s a matter of taking care of yourself.  Being older, I know I don’t have the energy I had even 20 years ago so to keep up with the schedule imposed upon myself, I must have balance or I will face burnout.

Life is all about balance.  With my busy schedule, I have to stop and take a moment to regroup and refresh, I sometimes stay in, but most times I’ll go to the park or to the beach to refresh.  If I take my camera I’ll try to capture my down time, but oftentimes I want to disconnect for a brief period.  I attend church regularly to keep myself in spiritual balance  and I enjoy reading, painting and have even taken a class, or I’ll take a day or afternoon to spend needed time with the people in my life I care about.  This balance keeps my creativity fresh and alive and allows my mind to rest and reset.

2013 02 02_Turner River Road_1904

If you are trying to juggle a busy schedule, whether it includes your own life, or one with children or taking care of a loved one, take a timeout for yourself, don’t feel guilty about it.  Sometimes this will make all the difference in how you feel  and will refresh your mind and body. In the comment section below, tell me how do you keep your life in balance?

Back of the ATV

Life Shared

Yes, I know this is a photography blog, however I will take liberty now and then to get more personal on it.

I LOVE being a photographer, I can’t think of anything I have enjoyed more.  There is nothing I would love more than for this to be my full-time job. However arriving to that point I stay very busy getting my name out.  Because of the busyness I am missing out on a lot of personal things in life, for instance;  I love the outdoors and recently I’ve not been getting out and simply enjoying this paradise I live in, I want to camp and to hike more.  Outdoor activities keep me focused and creative and I am a much better person when I have had my “green” time. I need to slow it down and take the time to enjoy where I live. Secondly, I would like to have a partner in life, a special someone who gets me and enjoys me for me.  My friends  on several occasions have encouraged me to join dating websites and I have to appease them.  I  detest this form of “dating”, I’ve given it another shot recently and I don’t feel this is what I should be doing so I’m sure I will be deleting my account (again).  I’ve had people say “you meet so many cool people” it’s true I do, but in the atmosphere I am meeting them, they are not what I am looking for.

I take up my  time with extra photography gigs on the weekends because it’s better than sitting home alone; I would love to share that aspect of my life with a man who understands how important it is to me and will encourage me. I know he’s out there somewhere.

I miss being close to someone and long to share my day and my experiences. In the past few weeks I’ve taken inventory of what life looks like for me.  When faced with life and death issues it causes you to take stock in life and reassess what matters and the important things in life.  I have had women tell me “you don’t need a man, they can tie you down and hold you back”  I don’t see it like that, I do need someone, I need to feel wanted and loved, it’s who I am and it’s what I’m about.

I enjoy my life now, I love being behind the lens I am truly blessed with the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met, but I know I’m missing an important element and that’s someone to walk down the path of life with hand in hand, after all life is better when shared, at least for me it is. Corkscrew-7

Love and Friendship

Chris

This week has been rough, but not as rough as it’s been for my really good friend Chris.  You see she just found out that she is going to be in the battle of her life and she’s not going to fight it alone.  Chris is an amazing woman and has some wonderful friends and family who are praying for her and cheering her through her battle.  The love of her family and friends is going to feed her life.

I met Chris several years ago as we were taking classes to pass the same test and after nine months of sitting next to her in class we became friends.  She was fully there for me as I went through a tough time the end of last year and totally had my back and now as her friend I will have her back too.  Seeing her in the hospital tonight, head shaven and tubes everywhere she was in great spirits and as a photographer who has seen her in my lens was just as beautiful without hair as she is with it.

Chris and I are close in age and when one of your close friends is hit with the news of having the big “C” it really makes you stop and think about your life.  I have been really fortunate because I have been blessed with wonderful children, wonderful family, and some of the most amazing friends on the planet.  Thinking about my own mortality I realize I want to fall in love again and make it forever, I want to live life to the fullest of my ability, follow my passion to create amazing images, and to continue to be completely happy.  I will not be content to sit back and watch life pass me by, I plan on making sure those I love know it and to find new love again, and my photographic work will keep improving and showing the passions I possess.

I know I don’t post personal stuff often, but I felt the need tonight, maybe it’s my way of dealing or the fact that I want to be more open in my life which will include  not only the good stuff, but sometimes the bad stuff too.  All I know is right now I could really use a big hug.  God Bless you Chris, I love you and I have your back!

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